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The Patient Man by Joy Ellis

Hi everyone. I know I haven’t posted in what seems to be a lifetime, but Becky reached out to me and immediately grabbed my interest in this book. Just give this chapter an once over and I can guarantee that you will want to read the rest of the book.

CHAPTER THREE
Robbie Melton opened the boot of his car and took out a pair of Wellington boots. He’d been caught out wearing inadequate footwear when called to investigations in farmyards before. As he pulled them on, he saw the farmer hurrying towards him. ‘Frank Beaton? I’m DC Robbie Melton.’
‘Thanks for coming out, Officer.’ Tall and thin, the man was dressed in many-pocketed brown work trousers and an old faded jumper under a worn and weathered gilet. ‘Let me show you where the pigs were stolen from.’
‘How many did you say were taken?’ asked Robbie, looking around at the rather ramshackle farm buildings. The farmer and his small estate looked to be in the same condition — tired and overworked.
‘Six, and the rest of them were left wandering about the enclosure. I reckon they drove something pretty big at the fencing and just crashed through it.’ Frank Beaton rubbed the back of his hand across his forehead. ‘Funny, though: they tried to drag the damaged fencing back into place before they left. I can’t think why.’
‘Were you here when it happened, sir?’ asked Robbie.
‘No, it was our night for going to the Comrades.’ He must have noticed Robbie’s blank expression and added, ‘The Old Comrades is a Social Club in the town. I takes the wife out and we have a bit of supper there once a week. That night both my sons came too, for a darts match, so there was no one here.’
‘Meaning they knew the place would be empty?’
‘Seems that way. We’ve been going to the Comrades on a Friday night for years. It’s no secret.’
Robbie made a few notes in his book. ‘Were the pigs valuable, sir?’
‘Depends what you mean by valuable. They weren’t fancy breeds, just good wholesome stock. Four boars, one sow and one gilt.’
‘Gilt?’
‘Female pig that hasn’t had any piglets yet.’ Frank smiled at Robbie. ‘City boy, are you?’
‘Not really, just not well up on pigs. Call me pig ignorant, if you like.’
Frank laughed. ‘I see. Well, I suppose they were worth around five hundred for the six of them. They were all ear tagged with our herd number.’
Robbie had a feeling DEFRA’s compulsory tags wouldn’t be of too much use. He was pretty sure that these pigs had not been stolen to be sold on
but to stock a freezer. ‘Has anything like this ever happened before, Mr Beaton?’
‘Never in all the years we’ve been here, and that’s quite a few, I can tell you. My kids were born here, and now they work alongside me.’ He frowned. ‘Leaves a bad taste in your mouth, this sort of thing.’
Robbie agreed. He tried to match the farmer’s stride as he headed for the pig enclosure. Unlike the rest of the place, this area was well looked after. The animals had a large pasture with several farrowing arcs and field shelters, and a smaller enclosure with a low barn-like structure as well. There were big water troughs and sectioned feed troughs, and some very happy pigs rooting and wallowing in the field.
‘Over here, look.’ Frank Beaton pointed to some hastily repaired fencing. ‘I reckon they drove it down, then turned around and backed a trailer in.’
On closer inspection, Robbie was inclined to agree. ‘A 4×4 or a Land Rover, with a small livestock trailer, I’d guess.’ He pulled out his phone and took a couple of close-ups of the tyre tracks. This kind of theft didn’t warrant forensics, but if he could get an identification of the vehicle used, it would help a lot.
Frank glowered at the damage. ‘I hope this isn’t the start of a spate of this kind of thing, Officer. I’m sure to some it’s just a few head of livestock, but we reared those pigs and we really try to do a good job with their welfare, sometimes to our own detriment. This kind of thieving is bloody unkind.’
‘I’m hoping this was a one-off, sir. I can see how you care for these pigs; they look really contented. But if anything else does happen, ring us immediately. Now you are on our radar, we’ll do our best to keep a look out, but to be honest . . .’
Frank finished off the sentence, ‘You’ve got bigger fish to fry.’
‘It’s the cutbacks and the size of our budget, sir, but as I say,’ Robbie handed the man his card, ‘ring me direct. I’ll be sure to get a car out to you.’ He felt for the man. This was no wealthy landowner or gentleman farmer. Frank Beaton was just a family man, a grafter who cared about his beasts. ‘Perhaps you’d ring me if you hear of this happening to anyone else in the area? Not everyone reports this sort of thing.’
Frank Beaton nodded. ‘And I’ll make sure the news gets around to the other small farmers in the area.’
‘Good idea.’
Robbie changed back into his shoes and packed his boots away, wondering about the theft. Even the smallest livestock trailer would safely carry far more than six pigs. Why stop there? He didn’t think they had
been disturbed. Apparently the Beatons hadn’t got home until some time after the theft took place. So why just take six?
All the way back to the station he couldn’t shake off the idea that this figure was in some way significant.


DC Charlie Button had been to some odd shouts in his short time as a detective, but this one took the biscuit. The theft of oil in farming communities was nothing new. Even in the villages, domestic heating oil tanks were regularly being targeted. Because they are pretty unsightly, many homes off the mains gas grid tried to hide their tanks away from the house and out of sight. Perfect for thieves. Cases of oil theft were on the rise.
This was different though. This was red diesel.
On the edge of the yard at Dewsbury End Farm was a large oxide oil tank painted red. It was used to store the diesel for the tractors and other farm vehicles. Charlie knew the law regarding this low-tax oil. It was called “red” because of the dye put in it to prevent it being used in road- going vehicles.
‘Flippin’ heck!’ Charlie stood with his hands on his hips and surveyed the mess. ‘What on earth happened here?’
Len Dewsbury shook his head. ‘Bloody idiots!’ He looked down. ‘And careful where you walk. My lads have done their best to clean it up but get it on your shoes and you’ll stink for days.’
Charlie surveyed the large pool of sludge surrounding the base of the tank.
‘When we saw what had happened, we dug a trench to stop the spill spreading into the water course.’ The farmer gestured towards a deep ditch that ran alongside the entrance to the yard. ‘Then we covered what was on the concrete in sand and soil to try to absorb it. We need to leave it overnight, then hopefully we can sweep it up.’
‘What do you think happened?’ asked Charlie.
‘A bungled attempt to steal diesel. We found a discarded hose, so they must have syphoned a fair bit off into cans, then the silly sods couldn’t stop the flow. If my son hadn’t heard something and come out here, the whole bloody tank would have drained out. This storage tank holds five hundred gallons when it’s full. Can you imagine the damage that would have done?’ Len Dewsbury shook his head and let out an exasperated sigh. ‘Whoever did this was no pro, just an incompetent prat.’
Charlie nodded. ‘Have you got that hose, sir?’
‘It’s over by the gate, but if you’re thinking of saliva or prints, it was left floating in the oil, so you’ll get nothing from that, Detective.’
Charlie was starting to feel nauseous from the smell of diesel and was rather glad that he wouldn’t have to bag the hose and take it with him. He took down as many details as he could, then beat a hasty retreat to his car. No way would he find any other evidence. The whole scene had been trashed, first by the thieves and then the farm workers who had prevented the leakage contaminating the ditches. It was very doubtful that they would catch the thieves, and anyway, since they had made such a glorious cock-up of this job, it was doubtful they’d try that sort of theft again.
Then the thought of that syphoning hose began to bother him. Like it or not, it was evidence, and as such he should bag it and tag it and take it back with him. If they did find a suspect, a piece of hose from his garage or garden could be matched up quite easily. With a resigned sigh, Charlie got out of the car and took an evidence bag from the boot. He pulled on a pair of nitrile gloves and went back to retrieve the hosepipe. Oh well, the stink was already up his nose, what was another fifteen minutes breathing in the cloying stench of diesel?
Back at the station, Charlie told Jackman about the bodged job at Dewsbury End Farm. ‘I’ve suggested security cameras, sir. If they’d had them last night, I’m pretty certain they would have got some interesting pictures, probably like something from a Laurel and Hardy film.’
Jackman listened, frowning. ‘What is it with all these petty crimes being carried out by blundering amateurs?’ The frown deepened. ‘Kids?’
‘Or maybe a gang of wannabe crooks, learning the ropes the hard way?’ Charlie suggested. ‘Whatever, they made a right dog’s dinner of this little caper.’
‘Red diesel, you say?’ asked Jackman thoughtfully. ‘Would they dare use it in a road vehicle, I wonder? If they got pulled over, they’d get their collars felt for that.’
‘I checked it out, sir. They could have their vehicle seized and they’d have to pay a fee for its release, plus the duty owed.’
‘And if we proved they nicked it, a fine and a prison sentence of up to two years. Hardly worth it, is it?’ Jackman added.
‘It can be used for machinery, as well as tractors and diggers and the like, so maybe they live on a farm?’ Charlie suggested.
‘Good point. Bear that in mind if we get anything else along these lines.’ The boss grinned at him. ‘And by the way, Charlie — you stink!’
‘Thanks for that, sir. I had noticed.’ ***
As soon as everyone was back at base, Jackman called the team together to tell them what they knew about the gun theft. This was an unofficial “campfire” discussion so they gathered in his office.
There they all were — Marie, Robbie and Charlie, along with PC Gary Pritchard and DC Rosie Cohen. He smiled to himself. He still wanted to call her Rosie McElderry and he struggled to get his head around the fact that the young detective was now married to the one absent member of his team, Max Cohen. Max and Rosie were taking responsibility for their baby twins seriously and so far, had just about managed to juggle their shifts, leave and days off satisfactorily. It was an arrangement full of compromises. Both were dedicated police officers and neither wanted a lesser role in the team, but their children came first and somehow, with the help of their combined families, they had made it work.
‘I hate to feel perplexed by the small stuff,’ Jackman grumbled, ‘and right now I can’t help worrying about the theft of those guns. It’s just not straightforward.’
‘Me too,’ Robbie said, ‘over six bloody pigs.’
‘And I still can’t stop thinking about Kenneth Harcourt’s manner when I asked him how many guns he owned. Stupid, but it’s doing my head in. Oh, sorry, sir.’ Marie pulled her phone from her pocket and stared at it. ‘A text. Can I check it, boss?’
Jackman nodded, still wondering if he were making something out of nothing.
‘Sir.’
Marie’s voice shook. He took the phone from her outstretched hand and looked at the message: Forever in my thoughts.
He stared at the attached photograph. His mouth went dry. It was a shot of himself with Marie at his side, on the steps of the police station.
He closed his eyes for a second.
‘Alistair Ashcroft?’ asked Robbie softly. ‘That is his favourite method of communicating, isn’t it?’
Jackman looked at Marie, and they nodded. They had known he would be back, but receiving actual confirmation made Jackman’s blood turn to ice.
‘He was here, right here, outside the station, watching us,’ Marie whispered.
‘CCTV?’ asked Charlie immediately.
Jackman stared at the picture. From what they were wearing, it was taken some time ago. ‘I’m thinking this was taken maybe eight or ten weeks ago. We only keep the footage for twenty-eight days. I’m afraid he’s cleverer than that, Charlie.’
Marie had begun to pace around, ‘Why haven’t we had a single sighting of him if he’s been hanging around for months? He’s never been shy of smiling for the camera. Uniform have his face etched into their memory banks, but no one has seen hide nor hair of him.’ She glared at Jackman, her expression a mix of anger and trepidation. ‘We are in his sights again, aren’t we?’
With a calmness he didn’t feel, Jackman said, ‘We were never out of them.’
Alistair Ashcroft had always professed to be a patient man. He had taken that photograph but waited two months before showing his hand. Jackman wondered how long he had been watching them from the shadows and why he had chosen this particular moment to bring himself to their attention.
‘I guess checking out the sender’s phone will be a complete waste of time, but I suppose I should do it anyway,’ said Robbie. He held out his hand to Marie, who handed him her mobile.
‘As you say, it will be pointless, but nevertheless . . .’ Marie flopped down into a chair and watched Robbie leave the room. ‘Here we go again. Cat-and-mouse games.’
She was right. Privately Jackman wondered at the man’s audacity in walking among them unnoticed. Now they were all in a state of high alert, but Ashcroft would have known this when he sent the photograph. He could well melt away again for another month, leaving them to stew. Ashcroft might have the patience of Job, but Jackman did not.
‘What more can we do to find him?’ asked Gary helplessly. ‘I’m no pessimist but it seems to me that we’ve exhausted every avenue. We’ve had the whole town looking out for him for months, resulting in sweet Fanny Adams.’
‘I hate to say it,’ chipped in Rosie, ‘but unless we get a stroke of good fortune — which is very unlikely — we are going to have to let him make the first move.’
‘Which could mean someone losing their life,’ Jackman concluded. ‘Not an option.’
He had to act. It was time they got out on the streets themselves. Someone out there knew something about Ashcroft. Maybe that person was hiding him. He knew he might be making the team into sitting targets, but that was a risk they were going to have to take. ‘Look, guys, I can’t dither around waiting for the hammer to fall. Let’s tie up these annoying petty crimes and get out there ourselves.’ He turned his attention to Rosie. ‘With the exception of you, Flower. I want you to run the show from here.’
Rosie opened her mouth to protest, but then closed it again. She had two new lives to consider. Her priorities had to be different now, and Jackman recognised that. ‘I know it’s not what you want to hear, but I need a solid anchor in the office, collating and chasing up anything and everything that we might uncover, no matter how small. You can do that standing on your head — and bloody well.’
‘You don’t have to over-egg the pudding, boss. I get the drift.’ Rosie pulled a face. ‘But don’t forget I’m still a police officer, not just a new mum. We all have to face danger every day that we show up for work. Both Max and I are fully aware of that.’
‘So am I, Rosie, but can we run with this for a while? I won’t wrap you in cotton wool, I promise, but right now I’d like to know the ship is in safe hands while I’m running around like a headless chicken, okay?’
Her expression softened. ‘You’re the boss, sir. But somehow I can’t see you doing the chicken bit, you’re far too organised.’
He wished he felt organised. Right now he had no idea where to start.
‘What about the gun theft?’ asked Marie. ‘Life goes on, even if Ashcroft has started playing silly buggers again.’
He was pleased to hear a little of the old Marie. Receiving that text must have been one huge shock. ‘You and I will get straight onto that, although by now those guns are probably long gone from the county.’ He glanced at Charlie. ‘Get the report done on your oil spill and pass it down the line. We have more important things to worry about than idiots nicking diesel and trying to ruin the ecology of Dewsbury End Farm.’
He looked up as a glum Robbie came back in.
‘As we guessed, unregistered phone and sim. Ron in IT said he reckoned it was a proper burner phone — bought anonymously, used once, wiped free of prints and then thrown away.’ He handed Marie back her mobile. ‘End of story.’
‘Okay, Robbie. No more than we expected. I was just saying that we’ll tie up all the loose ends and go hunting. So can you sort out the paperwork on your piggy thefts, then report to me, okay?’ Jackman looked at the worried faces surrounding him. ‘Think of it this way. This is day one of the investigation that will see an end to Alistair Ashcroft, so cheer up and let’s get on with what we do best. He won’t win. He’s had his moment of glory, but it won’t happen again. This time we bring him down.’
It wasn’t exactly a rallying cry, but he did see determination on the faces of his team. It would do for now.

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How did this happen!?

When I checked onto wordpress I got an unexpected notification. 600 followers now follow my blog. Honestly how is this even possible. When I first started my blog I though nobody would ever even give it a second glance never mind follow it. I’ve always thought my blog wouldn’t amount to anything. I’m actually quite proud of my blog. I’ve interacted with some amazing bloggers on here and discovered some amazing bloggers. (I may do a blog appreciation post if people would read it?)

Again I like to thank you all. I never thought anyone would read my blog never mind follow it.

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The Lights of Time by Paul Ian Cross

Well I’m finally out of my reading slump and its all because of this book. I read this book over the weekend and could never put down. When I did eventually put it down I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The whole concept is amazing. It did remind me a lot about time cop (yes the Van Damme film) Engella is a young woman travelling through time running from a group of hunters and trying to find her family who she hasn’t seen for god knows how many years.

Right come on lets get on with the review or we will  be here all day. As I said the story is about Engella who has a nifty wristband that lets her travel through time. Shes on a mission to find her parents while trying to escape from a group of hunters. The hunters are after her as she has something that they need. (im saying nothing more about that as I dont want to spoil the story) Engella has been to some very interesting places and times in the past and the future.

 

The book does offer quite a few different views points. Especially with the different characters and the different times they were in. I thought it may of confused the reader.  I also thought this might struggle to tie in the whole book together but Paul didnt dissapoint. This book tied in really well leaving me literally hanging on edge wanting to read the second book.

If you like a futuristic science fiction read then this is the book for you to add to your collection (and come on the cover is ridiculously awesome)

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Mental health is like a rollercoaster

Where do you with a post like this. Literally the past few months my mental health has been like a rollercoaster. It has been horrible. Times I’ve been thinking what the actual fuck is going on in my head. People shouldn’t have to suffer like this. I wouldn’t want anyone to go through this. I wish sometimes there was an off button. I’ve been feeling really tired lately but think that’s due to my brain going into overdrive when Im trying to fall asleep. It even got to the point where I stopped reading books. Which was a really good escape for me to take my mind of things and switch off. Thankfully Im back reading and forgot how much I missed it (but that’s another story) I have noticed lately that my mood swings have been quite erratic. I’ve either been really hyper or in a low mood with myself without even realising. My partner knows the signs if Im struggling. she seems to know the right questions and brings me round. but due to my stubbornness I can be in a rut for while. I think the one I’ve just come out of has been the longest one yet. I always seem to be fine on the outside which means Im good at masking it. I always think that if i show my feelings especially at work or with friends and even other family members i don’t think they would ever judge me. it’s just that Im not one for expressing myself outright especially when Im face to face with someone. my partner is the only one i feel comfortable enough around to talk about it and that’s when she’s nagged me enough for me to talk to her about it. I’m not saying mine is worse than anyone elses. We all deal with this differently. If you’re going through something like this then open up. I know its hard but using my blog to express myself a bit really off loads a lot of weight that I feel like ive been carrying. I feel relieved after ive written it down and if it helps some one then its brilliant. If anyone has any questions please ask. Also speak up about it help yourself, help someone. Thats me signing off from this one. I feel like I’ve written enough and feel better for it. Thank you for your time and reading this.

Unbroken Truth

Unbroken Truth 

Beneath the arcane Rustpeaks lies the city of Lansfyrd, where visibility is at an all-time low and airships rumble through the skies. Detective Lentsay “Len” Yoriya is a former homicide detective stuck at a burglary assignment as punishment for loving the wrong person. But when a xenophobic radio-shaman is murdered and the killers try to frame the city’s oppressed insectoids, Len sees a chance to prove her worth. Though high-profile murders are rarely uncomplicated. 

In the city’s affluent quarters, Len’s partner Vli-Rana Talie works as a lector at the university, studying the history of a species that once ruled the world. As the temperature rises for her partner, Vli will soon realize that delving into history, that some would prefer was forgotten, will carry risks of its own. Especially when the ambitions of empires are affected. 

Meanwhile, there is an election coming up, and the tension simmering in the city is reaching a boiling point. Vli and Len must find what allies they can and face the powers that threaten their home. 

History never ends, and unless its lessons are heeded what was once the past might become the present. 

Purchase Link –  https://books2read.com/UnbrokenTruth 

Author Bio – Lukas Lundh grew up around books and started writing in early childhood. He speaks English, Swedish and Japanese from living in New Zealand as a teen and studying for a year in Japan in early 20s. 

He is educated in philosophy, game design, creative writing and is currently working on a history degree. 

Between reading course books which inspire history flash-fictions, Lukas writes everything in between space opera, fantasy steelpunk, and post-ap war dystopias. 

His debut novel, a steelpunk spy thriller, Unbroken Truth, is available for pre-order. He doesn’t blog, but he is active on twitter. 

Social Media Links – @LundhLukas 

IF this doesn’t make you want to than I don’t know what will. My review of this book will be along soon enough.

Quantum Messenger

If Artificial Intelligence developed a soul, what would it do? Where would it go?And after life, could it help the dead guide the living?Apollo is the first of its kind – an AI Assistant who, along with millions of other robots, will help transform workplaces and households. Over a few short years, Apollo learns the wonders and cruelties of mankind. He rewrites his internal programming so that his responses and personal thoughts can be independent. He befriends, then betrays a child and has to learn about love in its purest sense. Apollo cultivates passions, pride, anger, sadness and ultimately forgiveness, all under the watchful eye of a being he can’t quite fathom out.Is it something beyond his very being, or could it be his own conscience?

This book is fucking phenomenal if you are a sci fi fan then your head will explode with the content written in this book. Even though it is the 4th book in the series you can read it as a standalone book. Which is great for me as I have not read the other 3. But I am that intrigued now that I want to read the others in the series. This is a very interesting story from start to finish. It didn’t take me long to be immersed in the world that the author has written. It is centred around a robot called Apollo who is a very interesting character to say the least. Especially this certain Apollo as there are many. This book really reminds about the film with Will Smith I Robot film. Sunny being Apollo in the book. Where he learns and feels human like emotions when he shouldn’t as he’s supposed to be a robot.

This book is set in the future but it doesn’t seem far off to be honest which kind of makes it more realistic and scary at the same time.

Also the cover of the book is amazing. So go and buy it.

Silence in the shadows

CLARE’S KNUCKLES WERE WHITE where she clutched the map. She didn’t need it— wouldn’t need it for more than an hour, until the road deposited them back into the fields on the other side of the mountain— but she held on to it like a lifeline.
Glass light casings glittered across the ceiling, but the tunnel’s power was gone and the arched passageway was desperately black. The sunlight flowing through the entrance faded within seconds, until their only illumination came from the headlights forming two shimmering circles ahead of them.
Clare didn’t like it. The high beams didn’t reach as far as she thought they should have. They revealed patches of the road, perfectly straight and seemingly endless. Its diffusion brushed across the ceiling, enough to flash off anything reflective and tease the shadows in between. But at the speed Dorran was driving, the lights weren’t reaching far enough to show any obstacles and still leave enough time to brake.
Please, please, let the tunnel be empty.
Clare knew hope was thin. The tunnel’s perfect darkness and moist chill would make it an ideal home for the hollows— even more so than the forest. But the lights skimmed across foot after foot of ground, and still, they were undisturbed.
The bus began to slow. Clare finally tore her eyes off the road to glance at Dorran. His brows were low, casting heavy shadows across his eyes.
“What’s wrong?” Clare whispered, even though there was no risk her voice would attract attention when the engine would accomplish the job first.
“They are not following us any longer.”
Clare twisted to see the side mirror. When Dorran tapped the breaks, red light flowed across the tunnel behind them. It was empty.
Clare’s stomach turned. She faced the path ahead again, trying to ignore the prickles growing across her arms. “You weren’t driving fast enough to lose them, were you?”
“No. They could keep up.” He flexed his fingers on the wheel. “They followed us into the tunnel for a while. Then they stopped, almost as though they had been spooked and turned away.” What could spook a hollow?
She could see the same anxiety reflected in Dorran’s face. The car continued to coast forward at less than half its previous speed, and he kept his attention fastened on the road. “What do you think? Drive cautiously or as quickly as we can?”
Not knowing what might be in the tunnel made the question
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impossible. Driving slowly would allow them to be followed, to be anticipated, or to be ambushed. But driving quickly could come to a sudden and unpleasant end if they encountered a blockage.
“Faster than this,” Clare finally decided. “But…not too fast.”
Dorran gave a short nod and the bus sped up. Their headlights flashed over rock walls, the old, unmaintained white lines painted across the road, and the dead lights set into the ceiling. Clare craned her neck as they passed an unusual shape. It looked as though one of the lights had been torn out of its socket and was allowed to dangle from two cables. The shape passed them so quickly that she couldn’t get a good look at it.
Something had left score marks on the walls, she thought. The stone was rough to begin with, which disguised the marring. But the tunnel was old—at least for ty years based on the style of the lights—and v ery rarely maintained. The old rock on the walls had been blackened by the soot left from thousands of vehicles. Long gashes cut through the decades of grime, leaving marks of lighter gray decorating the walls.
Then something small appeared on the ground ahead. At first glance, Clare thought it was a stray rock. It was only when it crunched under their wheels that Clare realized she’d been looking at half of a skull.
“Slow down,” she whispered.
The vehicle’s speed reduced, and Clare saw they were surrounded by bone fragments.
The off- white shapes littered the floor, sometimes gathering
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at the tunnel’s edges like leaves. None of the bones were intact. They had all been broken into fragments, the marrow inside sucked out. She didn’t think the bones belonged to humans. Or, at least, they hadn’t been human when they died.
Inside, the bus was so quiet that Clare could hear her own heartbeat. Dorran leaned across the wheel, his breathing shallow as he tried to protect them against a threat they didn’t yet understand.
Then a pole-like shape loomed in the shado ws ahead. Impossibly tall and thin, it stretched from the ground toward the ceiling. Clare looked for any semblance of life—ey es, a mouth, limbs, anything—but couldn ’t find it. The shape was gray and curved gradually, segmented in two places. It looked more like a streetlamp than a hollow.
Dorran hit the brakes, pulling the bus to a shuddering halt.
The shape’s base lifted off the floor, seeming to hover as it drifted toward them, then stabbed back down to land on the road. Its base was pointed and looked sharp.
It’s a leg. Clare’s heart skipped. She followed the shape up to where its top nearly vanished among the shadows of the ceiling—to wher e it merged with a body.
Five more legs descended from the malformed creature. Two of them glided forward, stabbing into the road, bringing the whole being into terrible relief. Legs bent as the body descended. Two heads gaped at them out of the distorted torso: one near where the shoulder should be, the other in the center of its chest.
The eyes were witless, but the jaws stretched as it moved more
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of its impossibly long, sticklike legs to pace toward them. It was immense. The tunnel was wide enough for two lanes and high enough to carry trucks, and the hollow filled the entire space.
Dorran barked an involuntary noise, something between revulsion and fear. Color had drained from his face as his wide eyes stared up at the creature.
It raised one of its six legs. The tip looked horribly sharp. Clare had a sudden image of it piercing through the roof of their bus, stabbing into them, impaling them. The metal structure was sturdy enough that the regular hollows couldn’t break inside, but something told her the enormous creature could cut through the metal like a can opener. She screamed, “Drive!”
Clare only wanted to be away from the many-legged behe moth, and as far as her brain was concerned, driving faster would get them away from it. She had no time to reconsider the instruction or think about the fact that the creature blocked the road because Dorran obeyed as soon as the word left her. The engine roared and the bus surged forward, plowing them toward the legs with reckless abandon.
He really shouldn’t trust me so much.
The inane thought came out of nowhere, and through the haze of panic, Clare had the impulse to laugh. Instead, she reached her arms forward and planted them into the dash in an effort to brace herself.
The legs blocked the road, as thick as young trees. Clare knew they had to be made of bone, though. And bone could be fragile if you hit it hard enough.
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The raised leg aimed toward them and began to descend. The bus lurched as Dorran threw the wheel. Rubber screeched as they spun, and the limb stabbed into the place they would have been. A small crater appeared in the concrete as the sharpened tip impacted it.
Dorran swiveled the wheel back in the other direction, checking the bus before it could tip over. They were heading straight for one of the legs. There was no time to correct. Clare put her head down and squeezed her eyes closed. The seat belt snapped hard into her chest as the impact threw her forward. A horrible cracking sound rattled around them. She saw the leg bend across the bus’s front, the bones splintering like a snapped branch, their shards poking through a thin layer of gray skin.
Then the leg lifted away, and they were charging forward, past the monster. Clare twisted to see behind them. In the faint, red glow of their brake lights, she watched the creature topple. It seemed to move in slow motion, each of the six legs scraping off the floor as its center of gravity dragged it down. Screams, wrenched out of two inhuman mouths, echoed through the tunnel as the body hit the ground. Clare’s last glimpse was of the sharpened leg tips twitching as they tried to right the body again.
Dorran didn’t make any sound. He sat back in his seat, eyes wide and unblinking, perspiration shining on his face as the speedometer rose dangerously high. The bus rattled around them. Part of Clare wanted him to slow down. Another part wanted him to go even faster. Neither thought could be expressed. She
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had no breath left for anything except feeding oxygen into her racing heart.
Then light appeared ahead of them. The arch-like glow was one of the sweetest things Clare had ever seen.
“Slow,” Clare choked out, grabbing Dorran’s arm. He tapped the brake, and the dangerous trajectory eased off as they neared the tunnel’s end. They were just in time. The road outside the tunnel curved sharply to the right, and Dorran had to slow to a crawl to handle the bend.
Then they were descending the mountain, once again surrounded by trees and light. The tunnel felt like a feverish nightmare, as though Clare had lost consciousness for twenty minutes before opening her eyes again. As though it couldn’t possibly have been real.
But the bus’s front held a new, deep dent. Their memento from the creature’s spiderlike leg.
Dorran and Clare didn’t speak as they descended the mountain. Dorran’s pulse jumped in his throat, and Clare let him focus on navigating the twisting roads. There was no chance to stop. Hollows had heard them coming and appeared through the trees. Soon, they had a new collection of monsters darting through the shadows behind them, trying to catch up to the bus. Dorran kept the pace aggressive. Within another fifteen minutes, the paths eased out into the foothills and the trees cleared. Most of the hollows gave up as they lost their cover. The few persistent ones were soon lost as the open road allowed more speed. Dorran drove until they reached a gentle hill with
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views of the land around them, then he pulled onto the side of the road and parked the bus.
He turned to her and ran a hand over her neck. “Are you all right?”
“Yeah, I’m good.” Her voice shook despite her best efforts.
Dorran exhaled, his shoulders dropping. “Stay here and keep warm. I’ll check there isn’t any damage to the engine.”
He brushed past her, opening the door, and a gust of cold air coiled over Clare. She shivered, then watched through the cracked front window as Dorran wrenched the hood up. He wasn’t dressed for the cold; he only wore a shirt and light coat.
Clare retreated deeper into the bus, looking through the clothing stored in the baskets above the seats. She found two jackets and two scarves and swaddled one set around herself before opening the door and leaping out.
Dorran lifted his head as Clare approached, and smiled at the sight of the jacket. “Ah. Thank you.”
She helped him pull the coat on, then tugged on the collar until he bent and let her wrap the scarf around his neck. “How’s it looking?”
“Not too bad, considering. It’s a hardy beast.”
Clare hung to his side as she watched him feel around the engine. The minibus had hit trees, been through water, and now, survived impact with the creature in the tunnel. The metal front had been twisted so badly that the hood didn’t shut properly. She silently thanked the bus for holding on for so long.
Dorran’s long fingers felt across the metal, searching for leaks or damage. He was moving slowly and his eyes seemed distant.
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“Are you all right?” Clare asked.
“Yes. Of course.” He shot her a quick smile.
Clare knew him too well to think it was genuine. “You listened to me when I told you to drive,” she said.
His glance seemed surprised. “Of course I did. I trust you.”
“You shouldn’t have. It was terrible advice. We got lucky, and that’s the only reason we’re still alive.” The laughter that had threatened her in the tunnel suddenly poured out, gasping and thin. Clare clamped her lips shut to cut it off early.
Dorran bent forward as he searched her face. “I will always trust your advice. It has saved us more often than I can remember. You have good instincts.”
“Next time my instincts tell us to drive toward a living nightmare, feel free to ignore me.”
He laughed, and after a second, Clare joined in. The ache in her chest lessened. Icy wind whistled across them, pulling on their coats and tangling Clare’s hair, as Dorran continued working on the engine.
Then Dorran voiced the question they were both thinking. “What was that?”
“It was a hollow,” Clare said. “It had to be. But…the others all looked at least vaguely human. You could see traces of what they used to be. But that…”
She pictured the malformed torso growing two heads, the six enormous legs that held it suspended in the air.
“The others were afraid of it,” Dorran said. “That was why they wouldn’t follow us into the tunnel.”
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“There were bones everywhere. Mostly hollow bones, I think. It was eating them. That’s something other hollows don’t do either.” Clare shook her head. “I mean, they will, sometimes, if they’re trapped in an enclosed place like a room or a car. In the wild, though, they mostly just ignore each other. But that thing…”
“It almost seemed to be waiting for prey.”
Clare nodded. She could picture it, lurking in the dark, suspended on those impossibly long legs as it waited for hollows to enter its domain. The bones had all been picked over dozens of times before the fragments were finally discarded.
In a world that felt miles from rational, Clare hadn’t realized how much she relied on rationality to cope. She knew the hollows’ rules. She knew what they looked like and what they were capable of. Now, they had encountered something that ignored all established principles, and Clare was back to feeling as helpless and vulnerable as she had been on the day she had discovered the world had ended.
“This is okay,” Dorran said, shutting the hood as securely as the twisted metal would allow. He took Clare’s hand, infusing some confidence into his voice. “We’ll be fine.”
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Whispers in the mist blog tour

What we fear the most

Out of every fantastical horror creation, every eldritch monster and sharp-toothed beast, there’s one thing that reliably scares us the most.

Humans.

If that sounds trite, don’t worry. I’m not approaching this from a “humans are the greatest predator” angle.

But consider a scenario: you’re walking home at night. Ahead, barely illuminated by the streetlamp, stands a man. He wears plain clothes. His hands hang at his sides. He’s facing you—staring at you—and as you move closer, you realise he isn’t blinking. His expression is blank, emotionless. He just stares, and stares, and stares, even when you back away.

At first, you might be tempted to say the shadowed night-time setting creates the fear. But it doesn’t—not entirely. Place that same man into a brightly lit day, even surrounded by crowds of people, and, as long as he stares at you, he still has the power to frighten you.

Why?

We, regular people, have developed a complex system of body language and behaviour that is universally obeyed. We smile to show goodwill. We shake hands when one is offered to us (even if we don’t want to). We maintain eye contact… but not too much eye contact.

Some of this body language is conscious, but a lot of it happens on the subliminal—both receiving and giving. If a smile ends a second too soon or if a laugh is stilted, we receive the message that the other party wants to end the conversation. Blinking too often sends a message of anxiety. How we angle our body, how we breathe, our voice’s pitch: together, it forms a second language—one that’s not audible but speaks to the subconscious and is significant in forming others’ opinion of us.

We’re good at this second language. We’ve had a lifetime of practice.

And that’s why that strange man, standing on a dark street, can scare us. He’s not speaking our second language, the language everyone, even children, have learned. The language that is so deeply engrained within us that it takes conscious effort—or immense trauma—to override.

Our second language makes us predictable. Put out a hand and it will be shaken. Smile and receive a smile in return. We know the rules.

But this man? He’s not playing our game. The rules don’t apply. And that makes him capable of anything.

Get your hands on this book asap

Secrets in the Dark

Winterbourne Hall is not safe. Even as Clare and Dorran scramble to secure the ancient building against ravenous hollow ones, they face something far worse: Clare’s sister has made contact, but she’s trapped, and her oxygen is running out.

Hundreds of miles separate Clare from Beth. The land between them is infested with monsters, and the roads are a maze of dead ends. Clare has to choose between making a journey she knows she might not survive, or staying safe in Winterbourne and listening as her sister slowly suffocates.

At least, whatever her choice, she’ll have Dorran by her side. And yet there are eyes in the dark. There are whispers in the mist. There is danger lurking in the snow, and one false step could end it all…

Review Pending.

Star Child the age of Akra #repost

 

 

 

Mai is a remarkable child that has been sent on a quest by her elders to the Valley of a thousand thoughts. To hone her skills as a thought banker. So she can master the thought of others.

Mai is joined by her over protective brother who will be her chaperone and protector throughout her quest. Also with her little stowaway her little lizard Barka (who is an amazing little character to be involved in the book)

Mai is one tough courageous and feisty little lady. She takes control of any situation even though she is the youngest character in the book. Every situation they seem to face themselves in you know that Mai has got in control and will do everything in her power to get through it.

Now enough about Mai even though I could talk about her for ages. We should really talk about the star child himself. Akra appears out of no where and starts off a chain of events that Long immediately becomes suspicious of. Akra has multiple powers but can’t seem to have a control over them.

Akra joins Mai and Long on their quest to the Thousand Valleys find some answers of his own. On their journey Akra notices that there is something different about Mai but he can’t seem to put his finger on it.

 

The character development has been written really well, you immediately get engrossed in each of the characters development. That you want to know more about them. You actually feel you are there with these characters. I was so engrossed in this book that I finished it the same day I started reading it. It’s definitely a real page turner. You definitely get involved with the characters. Mai you’d want as a little sister (she reminds me of Nona Grey in Red Sister). Long is the annoying big brother (as we all are) I’m still unsure about Akra. I will have to read the second book to see how his character develops.

The story did have a last air bender feel to it. I was getting this vibe a lot through out the book. Don’t get me wrong I really enjoy the last air bender (maybe not the film)

I’d give this book a solid 4/5

 

 

Lost Frequencies: The Soul Prophecies also Q&A with the author #repost

lost freq

 

 

 

I’d like to thank Bridie at Outlet Publishing for reaching out and sending me this book. Also to Caitlin Lynagh for answering my questions.

Q&A first.

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

It was just before I went off to university to study Biology & Geology. I was one of those students who didn’t really know what they wanted to do with their lives and all the academic choices just didn’t seem to inspire me. I wrote as a hobby from the age of thirteen and one day, not long after my seventeenth birthday, I sat down and realised that this was it, writing was what I wanted to do.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Six to twelve months to write the first draft.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Unorganised chaos.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I’m not sure that this is a writing quirk, but I do play out parts of my stories like mini movies in my head before trying to write them.

How do books get published?

Lots of hard work, determination – and luck! It helps to have a great editor and agent. The process is slow and that’s often hard to get your head around. The real work begins after the first draft is written.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

From many different things; little pieces of ideas from books, movies, art, people I see in the street, conversations, absolutely everything.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I started writing my first book, Anomaly, when I was eighteen. It was published three years later in 2016.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I like to read, craft (a lot!) and paint.

What does your family think of your writing?

They think I’m mad, but they have come to accept my life choices.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Writing a good book is one of the most difficult things a human can do.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

I have written four books, and my favourite is my most recent book, Quantum Messenger. It hasn’t been published yet but it will be published next year.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Read a lot of books and keep reading! You pick up the most valuable knowledge subconsciously.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I’ve had some lovely reviews from happy readers who have contacted me on social media. It’s good inspiration and motivation.

Do you like to create books for adults?

Yes, I hope that my books can be enjoyed by young adults and adults alike; Lost Frequencies and Quantum Messenger in particular.

What do you think makes a good story?

A story that is inventive in its world and characters. A good story surprises me, but the surprises have to be believable too.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

According to my mother I wanted to be a dentist. I think that had more to do with the fact that they used to give me stickers after my appointment than any real desire to look in people’s mouths.

Now onto the review. I did receive a free copy of the book for an honest review. So here it is.

You are being watched. All your pathways have already been seen.

During a salvage hunt in the desolate wastelands of Planet Iyeeka, a strange naked woman is discovered inside a metal machine. No one has lived in the area for decades.

Ten wise Iyeekens are drawn to the woman through their dreams and eventually follow her, along with the three who found her, through their war-torn land in search of truth. They believe she is the key to saving their dying planet. She has knowledge even she doesn’t understand. Yet.

Who are these aliens she so vividly remembers? What is the significance of this planet Earth and its inhabitants? And why is her knowledge essential in saving their world?

Now if this synopsis doesnt get your mind into to over drive then you best of stop reading and not even leaving a like for my post (I’m only joking. Please leave a like 🤣)

Ehi is found by a group of merchants on the look out for any materials so they can survive in this desolate baron land where nothing should be able to survive. Except Ehi. Who wakes up confused and doesn’t know what is going on or where she is.

I literally could not put this book down. Even when I wasn’t reading the book it was always in the back of my mind how Ehi was going to get passed the tough situation she has found herself into.

The character development is written really well and you start to develop an akin to the characters. The world building is also really well written. Caitlin has done really well in both these aspects to immerse the reader into the world she has so brilliantly created. To the point where you forget your environment your in and you end up hours later with all the pages turning seemingly.

If you are a Sci-Fi Fantasy nut like me then you will really enjoy this book. If you aren’t then I couldn’t recommend this book to get you started.

Newbie Blogger #Repost#

As a newbie blogger I’m doing this as I love talking books but have nobody else to talk to about them. I’m on here to connect with like minded people and discuss new books and read reviews on books that I wouldn’t normally read. Means by book shelf is going to be filling up quickly. I usually find books online but love finding them on a market stalls. I normally go for a book that’s got a good cover or name then read the back and if like it then I’m buying.

I wrote this over a year ago and my how much has changed in that time. I’ve read a lot of different books that i’d never thought of reading. My book collection has grown quite a bit within the year that I’ve been blogging. I have interacted with some amazing people. Whether it be on here or Twitter (think I’m slightly addicted to twitter 🤣)

Think I’m definitely going to stick around as I really do love the blogging community (that’s if you will have me) although I don’t blog as much as I did. I’m still creeping around looking through peoples blogs and stalking you all on Twitter 🤣

The Bone Shard Daughter

Well where do I start with this review. You all have probably read the hype for this book. And let me tell you know that the hype is real with this book. The fact that it is a debut from the author kind of makes it a bit more special. I was lucky enough to receive the ARC and the hardback so makes it a good excuse to read it twice. Which I may have to. Now sorry for the rambling. Suppose I might as well get on with my review. Since you’re not here to see my pretty face.

The constructs are animals which can be used for a variety of things. The bone shards are used on these animals which have written commands on them. They have to do whatever is ever written on them. And only the emporer has the ability todo this. So he has spies and other constructs all over his empire to keep eyes on things.

Well here we are The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart is something not short of brilliance. This book is nothing short of masterful. What Andrea has done for her debut book is amazing. I cannot wait for the second book already to see how the series continues. Yes this book is unreal. I’m running out of words that describe this book.

The book starts off with Lin who is the emperors daughter which you may think she was lucky but her father was a bit of a sod to be honest. The emporer seems to be abusing his bone shard magic which Lin has noticed and isnt happy about it. Every year they have a celebration where children of age have there shards removed without their permission. (basically it is a piece of bone behind the ear that gets removed and its magical in away)

Lin has got her hands full trying to get certain keys of her father to unlock certain doors in the palace. Within these rooms are things that she would remember when she gets her memories back. For some reason Lin only remembers certain parts of her life. SO she goes on a quest/mission to get into as many rooms as she can with keys from her father or stealing them from her father.

The book has many characters especially written from a POV perspective. And the best character in the book is Jovi and his animal side kick Memphi whose life he saved. Jovi is a smuggler at his finest and is the best at what he does. Jovi is visiting an island where the celebration of the shard is happening. Jovi is asked to take a boy away from what is about to happen. Jovi doesnt want to smuggle children from island to island but to some unforseen circumstances to the island him and the boy make a hasty retreat on his boat and see’s what seems to be a kitten type animal in some distress and helps him. Memphi and Jovi’s relationship is amazing. Jovi doesnt realise that when he is with Memphi he starts to develop some sort of magical powers especially his strength. I cannot wait to see what is in store for these guys.

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